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Orengo H.A.,University of Nottingham | Orengo H.A.,Catalan Institute of Classical Archaeology ICAC | Palet J.M.,Catalan Institute of Classical Archaeology ICAC | Ejarque A.,Catalan Institute of Classical Archaeology ICAC | And 4 more authors.
Quaternary International | Year: 2014

The Madriu-Perafita-Claror valleys (MPCV) (Eastern Pyrenees, Andorra) were the focus of a multidisciplinary microregional landscape research project that aimed to study the long term shaping of this UNESCO World Heritage Site in the category of cultural landscape. The study area is situated on a glacial modelled high mountain environment ranging from 1250 to 2800m.a.s.l.Multidisciplinary approaches integrating archaeology and palaeoenvironment have been directed towards the unravelling of the long-term human-landscape relationships, which ultimately resulted in the MPCV cultural landscape. The development of high-resolution temporal and spatial studies could successfully correlate archaeological and palaeoenvironmental data. This study leads to the location of more than 400 archaeological structures, 55 of which were excavated, and the multiproxy study of 7 palaeoenvironmental sequences. The combination and analysis of all these data have permitted developing a history of human-environment interactions from the Mesolithic to the 20th century. In this paper, data gathered in the MPCV corresponding to the Neolithic and Chalcolithic periods are presented for the first time.During the Early Neolithic small groups are documented with a diversified economy in which grazing, hunting, fishing, gathering and an incipient cereal agriculture activities are well represented. These groups seem to follow highly mobile occupation patterns with continuous high mountain seasonal grazing exploitations that lasted one or two centuries. They appear to frequent diverse altitudinal belts in order to take advantage of different resources. A strong pastoral orientation is related to the exploitation of high mountain areas.During the Middle/late Neolithic human groups show a higher degree of sedentism. Hunting and gathering are still important activities although agriculture and animal husbandry increase in importance. During this period an augmentation in the pastoral pressure in the MPCV is also documented, linked to the first use of fires to create grazing areas. Symbolic landscape appropriation practices are also firstly documented during this period.During the Chalcolithic, human landscape use becomes intensive enough to cause permanent landscape changes. The upper parts of the MPCV are deforested by the action of fire while intensive agriculture takes place at the lower valleys.The evidence presented by the MPCV project demonstrates that it was during the Neolithic when this high mountain cultural landscape was firstly formed. This process is probably related to an increase in the population and progressive sedentism, which required a more intensive and organised use of resources and, eventually, the adoption of landscape management practices. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd and INQUA.

Subias E.,Rovira i Virgili University | Fiz I.,Catalan Institute of Classical Archaeology ICAC | Fiz I.,Rovira i Virgili University | Fiz I.,University of Barcelona | And 2 more authors.
Quaternary International | Year: 2013

The construction of the Aswan Dam put an end to a form of relationship between people and the environment that had its origin in the pre-Pharaonic period. The annual Nile flood had been tamed and managed for centuries by the societies of the Nile delta. However, by the nineteenth century, attempts to modernize Egypt according to Western standards led to a gradual change in how the river was managed and exploited, focusing on permanent irrigation of the land. These changes took the form of successive hydraulic engineering projects that transformed the entire landscape. Our project aims to analyze how this long process took place, from the Greco-Roman period to the present day, by focussing on the middle valley of the Nile, in the area corresponding to the Oxyrhynchus nome (province), in order to reconstruct the methods of flood management and how they have transformed the landscape.For this purpose, we have combined an analysis of archaeological and written documentation, consisting primarily of papyrological data and secondary sources. We have also combined a reading of the historical cartography with the identification of traces of dykes and canals from satellite images (CORONA, ASTER, Quickbird, Worldview 2), and related enhancing functions of satellite imagery. These data were organized and registered on a GIS geodatabase that enabled all the information to be analyzed and confirmed. Our initial findings define an ancient landscape, in which old channels structured the landscape around the nome. These channels, and their levees associated with dykes, favoured both the containment of water and terrestrial transport, in an area that would be completely inundated in the flood season. This combination of channels with some element of retention was important for territorial and administrative organization within the nome, the administrative territorial division of Egypt, and its subdivision the toparchy. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd and INQUA.

Anna Gutierrez G.-M.,Catalan Institute of Classical Archaeology ICAC
World Archaeology | Year: 2011

As in many other areas of the Roman Empire, the exploitation of stone resources for the construction of buildings, public areas, infrastructure, sculptures, inscriptions and other objects, such as sarcophagi, was a key activity in Roman Spain from the beginning of the Roman conquest. However, the study of supply areas (the quarries) has been limited to date. Taking north-eastern Spain as a case study, this article addresses the importance of identifying ancient quarries by field work at the sites and archaeometric characterization of the materials. Along with consideration of the distribution of the stone from specific quarries throughout and beyond the region, this provides a solid basis to appreciate the significance of stone exploitation as part of the process of Romanization. © 2011 Taylor & Francis.

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